Category Travel

Opulence and Grandeur of Moroccan Architecture

Over the Christmas holidays I had the chance to bond with my mom and my brother, and visit Morocco for the first time.  I came without any expectations, and left with awe at how beautiful it was.

We flew in to Casablanca, the financial capital, and then proceeded on our journey to Marrakech, Ouarzazate, and Essaouira.  The weather was quite cold at night at 8 deg C on the average, and in the daytime perhaps around 12, so coming in December was not such a bad idea.  It was perfect – much better than coming during the scorching summer.

Most of the Casablanca that we saw was a little dusty, except for the Hassan II mosque that the locals take great pride in, and the Royal Palace.  These two monuments that we came to visit were impeccable, with ornately designed architecture that screams opulence and wealth.  You’ll see their photos below.

Among all of Casablanca’s sights, my favorite must have been the old medina at sunrise, just as the mist was rising.  Being a gated neighborhood, it’s almost empty except for a few older men or women who start their days early.  If you’ve ever seen Casablanca, you’ll probably remember Rick’s Cafe, the cafe made famous by the classic film.  We saw the actual cafe, although according to our guide they never really shot the film in Casablanca…so the cafe now is just an imitation from the film.

New Year, New Resolutions.

2017. What resolutions do you have in mind? Mine, aside from the continuous struggle to be better in all aspects of life, want to accomplish some personal goals I’d rather not say at the beginning of the year. It’s like a jinx the moment you blurt it out to the world. Everyone knows what you desire, and the special bond between you and your secret is lost.

I’d just come back from Morocco, a first for me, and I have tons of pictures on my roll.  Here’s a few black and whites that I love from exploring souks in Marrakech and Essaouira.

A weekend in Beverly Hills

Over the weekend, we got the chance to stay at a very upscale hotel in Beverly Hills, the SLS Luxury Collection Hotel.  From a design perspective, the interiors were designed with a focus on fashion and current trends. I was not expecting to see an AK-47 gun or a 5 foot tall black horse as lamps in the lobby, nor the backlit poster of Penelope Cruz adorning the entire wall of the reception area on my floor as I stepped out of the elevator.  For designers who love pop art and not just subtle clean design, this is a place to check out.

More than just staying at a nice hotel, we also got the chance to try out our friend’s highly recommended restaurant – Scratch. They make everything from scratch, from their butter, to their breads… not just that, but if you’re adventurous, try out the 16 course meal which the chefs will prepare for you, only letting you know what ingredients they’ll be using, and not telling you the sequence or combinations of how they’ll use the ingredients.  They change their menu every month on top of that. It’s a very bold concept created by a group of chefs, there are no servers in the restaurant, and the chefs who create the dish also take the time to explain to you what their creation is.

Such a lovely weekend. 1

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Driving through Napa and Sonoma

We’re not really big wine drinkers, or any kind of alcohol for that matter, but if you’re visiting San Francisco for a couple of days and you have enough time to go to Napa and/or Sonoma, you should definitely go.  Not only will you learn interesting information about different types of wine and how they’re made (plus taste all of them if you wish), but you’ll get to see the beautiful landscape too.

Believe it or not, the distance between Napa and Sonoma is just about 13 miles, 22 minutes away by driving, and yet the short distance creates a subtle difference in climate and soil – which in turn creates a huge difference in the taste the grapes produce for the wine.  We’re talking about 10-20 degrees fahrenheit difference between one place to another, on any given day.

Check out some of the pictures from our trip to the wine region…
Napa Valley Wine region Travel Wine Region Sonoma Wine Valley Wine Valley Rosé all day Stacked wine barrels

Exploring Mexico

Mexico was every bit as lively as we imagined it to be.  From day one, the moment we landed into the city and saw the colorful streets and houses – til we left in a hurry from Frida Khalo’s colorful home, our journey was packed with ooohs, ahhhs, and yumm.  And yes, our first meal was of tacos!  In retrospect, I always took for granted Mexican cuisine and only used to recognize it for tacos, but in fact their cuisine is so diverse and tasty that it’s almost underrated.  I’m imagining the chapulines, moles, churros, and hand-churned chocolate shakes we encountered in our journey…

Scroll down below to see more of our Mexico trip:
Spanish Architecture Classic Mexican Restaurant Street Photography Travel Mexico Mexico Church Tour Taxco Mexico Taxco Mexico Travel Mexican Old Town Mexico Travel Latin American Town Vintage BeetleMexican Colorful culture Taxco Little Town Travel Photography Travel Photographer Daily Life in Taxco Latino Lovers Mexico Details Mexico City Puebla Cholula Mexican Delicacy Cholula city view Cholula City Mexican Pony Carousel Xochimilco Taco Vendor Mexican foodMexican Town